Brazilian experts took part in a mission to Europe from December 5th to 16th in order to learn and share best practices for combating food waste at the end of the food chain, in addition to the PR campaigns carried out and the public platforms already established in some countries of the European Union. The agenda for the group began in Brussels, followed by The Hague, Wageningen, Copenhagen, Banbury and Paris.
Gustavo Porpino, communications coordinator of EMBRAPA and operational manager for this project supported by the Sector Dialogues commented that, “The aim of this mission was to promote a dialogue between Brazil and the European Union in order to learn the best local practices in relation to the endpoint of food waste, besides identifying how we can influence public policies in our country to reduce food waste".
During the meeting with the European Consumer Organization in Brussels, it was possible to learn about the legislation of some countries such France and Italy and how they are facing food waste. "This meeting was very positive. It was possible to understand the cooperation between different institutions and how to strengthen the Food Banks, both with the aim of detecting food waste and food safety," says Porpino.
DG Health and Food Safety has presented a platform that connects experts, institutions, researchers and members from different countries, enabling them to share best practices across the food waste chain.
While at the technical visit to the Wageningen University in the Netherlands, it was possible to realize that the partnership between this public education institution, the government and the private sector is useful in generating statistical data that demonstrates the real dimension of the problem faced by the country, and, based on this information, it is possible to implement public policies that improve the fight against food waste.
In addition, the delegation went to Denmark and visited the Ministry of Food and Nature and WeFood, a social supermarket that has shown positive results of preventing food waste by offering products that have a close to expiration date and in natural food outside the aesthetic standards of some networks, which are sold for up to 60% lower prices. The Brazilian group also met with the NGO, Stop Wasting Food, the largest non-profit consumer movement against food waste in Denmark.
In Banbury, England, the delegation met with WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Program) coordinators, an initiative of circular economy and idealizer of the Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) campaign.
The last meeting of the mission was at the Euro Food Bank in Paris, where it was possible to know the scale of the organisation of the network, as it brings together 321 food banks and has a governance capable of disposing the surplus of food products generated in the whole chain, which encompasses the retail, manufacturing and consumer sectors.
Furthermore, Mr. Porpino emphasized that, "Throughout the mission, it became clear that the national strategy focused on combating food waste in each of the countries we visited, particularly in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, is public-private partnerships, since they involve all sectors at the various stages of the chain, like the retail and the food industry”.
An example of this union is the Fusion Community of Experts platform, which brings together food waste and sustainable consumption experts to exchange best experiences in their localities. In this project, for instance, the key personal that the delegation met during the trip are involved, such as the European Commission, WRAP, the UK and Wageningen University.
Next steps for Brazil
One of the challenges that Brazil faces over food waste is the lack of quantitative data. The statistics used so far are from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and refer to the whole Latin America – 28% of waste occurs at the beginning of the process and 28% at the end of the chain.
As part of the project in partnership with the EU, a research study will be developed in order to measure food waste, which could use the methodology created by the Wageningen University, focused on the search for information that can foster the creation of public policies that promote the fight against food waste in every chain and allow the creation of PR campaigns that raise awareness and mobilize the public on the subject.
To conclude, Mr. Porpino mention that, "In addition to this research, which we plan to launch in July 2018, we are also foresee to hold a workshop to discuss public policies that encourage the entire chain in combating food waste. It is imperative that all the whole of society realise the relevance of this issue, and that together, from the coalition of all the stakeholders involved (consumers, government, private sector), we can reduce the bureaucracy so that the trade and food industries donate more, thus strengthening the Food Banks and promoting greater food security for the low-income population, ".
The mission was designed by Kathleen Machado, coordinator of public food and nutritional security equipment of the Ministry of Social Development, Carolina Siqueira, analyst for the WWF-Brazil food and agriculture programme, Gustavo Porpino, communications coordinator of EMBRAPA, Aline Bastos, communications analyst at EMBRAPA Agroindustria de Alimentos, and Rui Ludovino, Minister Counsellor of the Delegation of the European Union to Brazil (DELBRA). They all are involved with initiatives aimed at reducing food waste at the end of the agri-food chain.
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